Members of Woodstock’s community police forum (CPF) are patrolling peak-hour traffic to stop taxis going off route and rat running in the neighbourhood’s small side roads.
Woodstock CPF chairperson Youssef Kanouni says they’re responding to residents’ complaints about speeding taxis making what should be quiet neighbourhood roads unsafe to cross.
“Taxis are rat running through the roads, not obeying the speed limits and motorists are not following the one-way signs,” he said.
The Woodstock CPF members started their first traffic patrol between Aberdeen Street and Regent Square on Monday February 17, with the help of City traffic officers.
“Within the first hour of patrolling, the traffic officers handed out fines to the value of R12 000 to taxi drivers going out of their route and to motorists not obeying the one-way signs,” he said.
The CPF members, wearing visibility jackets, patrol the small roads on foot, making sure motorists don’t go the wrong way down one-way streets and cautioning off-route taxi drivers.
A resident, who fearing reprisals declined to be named, alerted the CPF to the problem of the rat-running taxis by taking videos and pictures of them speeding through the area.
The CPF members log their activities in an occurrence book at Woodstock police station before they go on patrol.
Woodstock CPF Sector 4 executive member Warren Morris said: “It is to ensure that the police know what we are doing and that if any problems occur, the occurrence book can be checked to see who is on duty.”
Colonel Alroy van der Berg, from Woodstock Police, praised the CPF members’ efforts.
“Woodstock police welcome any legal and lawful intervention to assist in keeping the community safe,” he said.
The CPF members divide the patrolling duties among 10 members from Mondays to Fridays at 4pm. They cover Regent Square and Aberdeen, Greatmore, Regent, Devon and William streets.
Koelsum Hanief, of Aberdeen Street, is grateful for their presence.
“There are many old age homes and churches in the area; the taxis show no respect, and we must always struggle just to cross a small road because of the amount of taxis that drive through the road.”
City Traffic Service spokeswoman Maxine Bezuidenhout said the CPF members’ presence was welcomed but she noted that they did not have the authority to enforce any traffic law.
“Identifying and reporting offences through the appropriate channels must still be done so that the relative authorities can tend to it,” she said.
Ward councillor Dave Bryant added: “It is important to note that only qualified traffic wardens or enforcement staff are legally allowed to direct traffic unless there is an emergency.”
Mr Kanouni is appealing for more members to join the patrols by calling Woodstock CPF member, Ashura Easton at 062 045 4733.